It's critical that the voices of black creatives are heard. I know it's cliche', but representation matters. As an emerging black female leader, it's encouraging when I see another black creative, especially a black woman, making moves and being accomplished.
When we don't see enough black faces leading in an industry, it becomes discouraging and disheartening. We know that people of color are innovative, talented, and creative and it's so unfortunate that we often have to work harder to prove it.
While we are making progress with closing the gap, the progress is not being made at a fast enough rate to help black creatives feel as if they are being embraced as a leader. No matter what we've been told, no matter what stereotypes continue to be shared, we were born leaders and are just as capable as anyone else to lead, to create, to make a difference, and to change the world.
Leadership development is a continuous thing. It's a part of personal and professional development. It's something that we must always be intentional about if we want to continue to claim our stake in society.
I want to share 5 ways to develop as an emerging black leader. It does not matter what you are creating; art, music, technology, books, or babies, you are leading in some capacity so you might as well be intentional about developing as a leader and building your personal brand.
Have some self-worth. Before you consider any accomplishment or accolade bestowed upon you by your peers, social media, or society, you must feel good who you are. The truth is, you will never measure up to the changing standards and hypocrisy of society so feeling good about self; having a positive sense of self-worth, must be one of your core values in order to develop as a leader. You are worthy just because of who you are and not because of what you have done or will do.
Be authentic. We live in a social media dominated era. We have so many teachers and influencers on social media so at any given second you will have someone telling you how to show up. However as a leader, showing up as anyone other than yourself is a failure. Doing anything other than what you have been purposed to do is a failure. Sure there are certain trends that may make sense for your brand and there are certain teachers who are ordained to help lead you to your next level, but you must remain authentic to who you are and what you have been called to do.
Continuous learning. You don't know it all. You will never know it all. Learning is a self-investment and one that we must all make as leaders, if we want to continue to elevate. This does not mean that you should be eating from everyone's table, but what it does mean is that you are to be discerning about who has already been developed enough to pour into your life; to help you develop and grow.
Be clear on your purpose. Passion, creativity, and continuous learning equals excellence. If you are trying to lead in an area that you are not passionate about it is going to hinder your creativity. There are a lot of areas that other black creatives are successful in, but that does not mean that you will be. Whatever you are doing must be in alignment with your purpose. Each of us have a purpose and with that purpose comes many different assignments. Be clear on your overall purpose and it will help you to know what assignments are attached to that purpose.
Seek opportunities. You may have to even create them. Although I wholeheartedly believe that there is no market or industry so saturated that there is no room for you if that is the industry you were created to serve in, I do not believe that you can just sit back and opportunities will flow from wonderland. Building your brand and developing as a leader requires you to market yourself. It requires you to highlight your expertise. It requires you to showcase your skills and talents. Because every market is saturated, you and your greatness will get buried under the ones who are intentional about leading and building their brand, if you are not intentional in seeking opportunities.
You have what it takes to change the world. To lead people. To start a movement.
You were created to lead and serve.
To see what stage you are in as an emerging black leader, take the free personal branding leadership assessment here www.pameladsmith.net and receive 5 tips on building your personal brand.
Develop, Lead & Serve,
Pamela D. Smith